As we come towards the end of the year, we can reflect on a busy year for the Association. 2017 has seen us commemorate the Third Battle of Ypres, better known as Passchaendale. A party of Borderers and friends visited the battlefield and paid tribute to those who fought and died there, and attended the unveiling of a Regimental Plaque on the Scottish Memorial at Zonnebeke to commemorate the 7000 Borderers who fell in the First World War; this plaque, along with the repair work carried out on the war memorial at Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwean/Tanzanian border and which features the name of Lt Col Dennis DSO KOSB, were funded by generous donations by Association members. Association representatives also attended the unveiling of Victoria Cross paving stones to CSM John Skinner VC KOSB in Glasgow and CQMS William Grimbaldestone VC KOSB in Blackburn. In November the Association had over seventy marching at The Cenotaph, which was a near record turnout for us, while Association members also attended Remembrance events in Edinburgh and across the UK. I am indebted to all those who planned and organised these important events with such energy and dignity.
We also had a very successful Minden Day at Berwick, with nearly 300 on parade and many more spectating, and there were other equally well attended events such as the Malayan Veterans Dinner and the Cruickshank Dinner. This year also saw 90th birthdays for Sergeant Bill Speakman VC and Major Ken Fraser, which is a marvellous achievement for them both. 2018 sees the commemoration of our final VC from WW1, Sgt Louis McGuffie VC KOSB, in Wigtown in late September, and the prospect of a final battlefield tour in the autumn to commemorate all our VCs from that war.
The Association remains focused on looking after Borderers, and we continue to assist those who require financial or other assistance. At this time of year in particular, I ask you all to keep an eye out for any Borderer in distress who requires our help, and let us know. Our other main task is to run the Association office and Museum, and I am particularly grateful to our Secretary, Museum Archivist and volunteers who keep the Regimental ‘ship’ afloat on a daily basis and on course for all our joint benefit. Our Branches also do a great deal to keep things running, and I thank their officers for their hard work, given freely.
On behalf of the Trustees, I wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas, and a prosperous New Year.